Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler voted to advance the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The bill represents the first step in a three-step plan to overturn the Obamacare law. The AHCA passed the House and now heads to the Senate for approval.

“Since Obamacare was implemented, it has been on a downward spiral with skyrocketing premiums, enormous deductibles, and insurers fleeing the collapsing marketplaces. The American people deserve better and we can do better,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.

“This bill is the first step towards building a fairer system that lowers costs and rolls back the Obamacare mandates which have placed severe financial burdens on Missouri’s families. It allows Americans and not the government to make their own health care decisions while guaranteeing access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions” added Hartzler.

The legislation repeals parts of Obamacare and replaces it with a system Hartzler says will “lower costs, remove government mandates, provide protections for pre-existing conditions and provide the states flexibility to direct resources to best fit their residents. It allows parents to keep their children on their coverage until the age of 26, prevents lifetime caps, and, importantly, contains provisions to drive down the cost of health insurance so everyone can afford it.”

On the issue of pre-existing services, Hartzler added that there is “a lot of misinformation out there about this bill, and it is important to note that this plan protects people with pre-existing conditions.  A person with a pre-existing condition cannot be denied coverage. A state can apply for a limited waiver if it has a high risk pool system for providing affordable care to individuals with pre-existing conditions.  This bill provides over $130 billion to help fund these high risk pools in any state applying for a waiver,” added Hartzler.

Additionally, the AHCA dismantles Obamacare taxes that have increased premium costs and limited options for patients and health care providers, including taxes on prescription drugs, over the counter medications, insurance premiums and medical devices. These taxes have added additional costs and burdens to families trying to deal with escalating health care bills. Further, the AHCA repeals the individual and employer mandates which Hartzler says were some of the worst transgressions of Obamacare. Additionally, Hartzler added that the American Health Care Act “provides a clear path to defunding America’s abortion giant” by halting “the free flow of federal dollars to Planned Parenthood is brought to a halt for the next 12 months.”

Hartzler says she expects more changes to be made to the bill in the Senate. The House would have to vote on the Senate’s version if changes are made.

“Healthcare is an issue that affects us all, and I assure you I do not take it lightly. I will continue to listen to my constituents as this bill progresses through the legislative process. I worked with the authors of the bill to address the concerns of our rural communities during this process and I will continue to advocate for the best health care system possible.”

“The American people sent us here to address this health care burden and this bill is the first step in doing that. No bill is perfect, but this is a great start. I look forward to working to deliver a patient-centered system that works for everyone.”

Specifically, the American Heath Care Act …

Helps Americans access affordable, quality health care by providing a monthly tax credit— between $2,000 and $14,000 a year—for low- and middle-income individuals and families who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program. Americans can use this tax credit to purchase private, quality coverage of their choice.

Dismantles the Obamacare taxes that have hurt job creators, increased premium costs and limited options for patients and health care providers—including taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums and medical devices.

Eliminates the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of workers, families and job creators into expensive, Obamacare plans that they don’t want and cannot afford.

Helps young adults access health insurance and stabilize the marketplace by allowing dependents to continue staying on their parents’ plan until they are 26.

Guarantees coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions and bans health insurers from charging a patient with pre-existing conditions higher premiums as long as they maintain continuous coverage, or sign up for new coverage within 63 days of exiting a previous insurance plan.

Establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund and Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program, which provides states with over $130 billion to design programs that meet the unique needs of their patient populations, help low-income Americans afford health care and provide a backstop safety net for Americans with pre-existing conditions. This includes $15 billion specifically toward mental health and substance abuse and newborn care.

Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need. The Medicaid reform represents the biggest entitlement reform in a generation and puts the program on a sustainable fiscal path.

Protects current Medicaid beneficiaries receiving health care under the expansion by honoring the enhanced state match they have been receiving, while working to redirect able-bodied adults to private health care so Medicaid can be refocused on helping the most vulnerable.

Empowers individuals and families to spend their health care dollars the way they want and need by enhancing and expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)—nearly doubling the amount of money people can contribute and broadening how people can use it.

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